On April 17, 2010, the Caps hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the two teams. The Habs took Game 1 of the series by a 3-2 score on a Tomas Plekanec overtime goal.
Montreal scored on each of its first two shots in Game 2 to put the Habs up 2-0 before the midpoint of the first frame, prompting Caps coach Bruce Boudreau to hook goaltender Jose Theodore in favor of Semyon Varlamov.
Caps right wing Eric Fehr halved the deficit at 10:21 of the first when he beat Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak on a breakaway after a terrific feed from Tomas Fleischmann. Despite trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes, the Caps owned a 13-8 advantage in shots on goal after the first frame.
Montreal’s Andrei Kostitsyn stretched the Habs’ lead to three with a pair of goals in a span of just 6:38 in the second period. The Caps were on the verge of falling into an 0-2 hole in the series, but Nicklas Backstrom kicked the door open just a bit when he scored at 18:23 of the second on a slapshot from the left circle, Joe Corvo and Alex Ovechkin assisting.
Ovechkin scored his first of the playoffs at 2:56 of the third, jamming the rebound of a John Carlson point through Halak. Matt Bradley and Carlson assisted on the goal that made it a 4-3 game. Backstrom brought the Caps all the way back to even with his second of the night at 9:47 of the third, a tap-in from the top of the paint. Ovechkin and Jeff Schultz collected the assists on Backstrom’s goal that made it a 4-4 game midway through the third.
But with just 5:06 remaining in regulation, Plekanec scored to put the Habs back on top at 5-4.
Carlson scored a clutch goal to make it a 5-5 game with just 1:21 left in regulation, taking a pass from Backstrom and firing a shot past Halak from the high slot.
Backstrom completed the hat trick and won it for Washington at the 31-second mark of overtime. He took a feed from Mike Knuble in the neutral zone, gained the line and ripped a wrist shot that beat Halak high and lifted the Caps to an improbable 6-5 victory.
The win ended a six-game home ice losing streak in playoff games that dated back to 1998.